Monday, May 28, 2007

Venezuela Hits a New Low

"Venezuela's oldest private television station went off the air just before midnight Sunday as thousands banged on pots and pans in protest against President Hugo Chavez's decision not to renew the license of the opposition-aligned channel."

Every country has its useful idiots:
"Fireworks exploded across Caracas as crowds of Chavez's supporters celebrated the expiration of Radio Caracas Television's license and the birth of a new public service station."

Turning off the lights:
"The studios of RCTV — the sole opposition-aligned TV station with nationwide reach — were filled with teary-eyed people who applauded, embraced and shouted "freedom!" in the final minutes on the air."

"They bowed their heads in prayer, and a presenter declared: -"Long live Venezuela! We will return soon." Then the national anthem was played and the screen turned black. Within seconds, it was replaced with the insignia of TVES, the new state-funded channel assigned to the frequency."

This should remind us how important free-market news stations are. This is why FoxNews is more important than our public broadcasting company, Yle. During the sixties Yle - which was a legal monopoly back then - served the government's interests by spewing out left-wing propaganda. To avoid such infringements of freedom of speech and opinion (forcing tv owners to pay an annual tv fee that is used to promote certain views) Yle needs to be privatized.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Moore and the Almighty Government

TIME: Of the declared presidential candidates, down to the Dennis Kucinich level, say, who do you think has the best health-care plan? Including Kucinich? We could include him.

Michael Moore: Then Kucinich, but he doesn’t go far enough. He supports what he’s calling a single- payer nonprofit plan, but from my read, it would still allow [private] entities to control things, as opposed to the government. What’s wrong with the government?

Via Mises.

I just put my dvds of Fahrenheit 9/11 & Bowling for Columbine for sale.

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Another Socialist Experiment Gone Wrong

If we lived in an anarcho-capitalist world, socialists would be free to take their ideas to some (preferably remote) location, buy a piece of land and start building their personal utopia. Their rules would only apply to those who have willingly moved to their utopia and they would not be able to demand anything (like subsidies) from outsiders.
However, such a micro society would not last. While it'd be a bit easier to control a small economy than a big economy and to therefore avoid major calculation problems this would not remove the underlying economic and social problems, including that in a relatively free environment (meaning in this case the opportunity to leave, the relative absence of total brainwashing and the absence of a Stalinist dictatorship that kills you if you don't do what the state tells you to do) people are not really that anxious to work for the benefit of others, especially when that means giving up your individuality for some childish hippie dream.
Economical and societal realities were behind the downfall and abandonment of socialist experiments in Israel. Kibbutzim were semi-socialist communities in Israel. However, they have been more or less dependent on aid and subsidies from outside. Self-sufficiency was among the first things to be abandoned. Now Time reports that these communities are moving even further away from their socialist principles:
"When Israel's oldest kibbutz, Degania, announced that it was giving up its socialist ideals and going private--members could own homes and earn salaries based on how hard they worked--few other than the kibbutzniks themselves were happy. For many Israelis, Degania was a symbol of rosier days, a Zionist idyll of honest work and camaraderie. But for those who called it home, the kibbutz had become an anachronism as rusty as the battered farm tools on display for tourists. Today, the younger generation of kibbutzniks pines for individualism."

"The kibbutz was a socialist dream. But Degania's manager, Tzali Koperstein, says, "From the start, it was never equal. It was a fake equality." Some toiled hard in Degania's diamond-cutting tool factory and in the fields; others slacked off. And as Israeli society began to value creativity and free enterprise over socialism, Degania lagged behind."

"Elders learned a lesson in capitalism that any kid with a lemonade stand could have taught them: the individual works harder for himself than for the collective."

"Kibbutz life is peaceful and rich," says Koperstein. "But it came at a high price. You gave up individual needs. The idea of having someone telling you what to think, what to study, what work to do--it's like having four walls closing you in."
Left-wing equality means that both men and women do what the collective tells them to do - not that both men and women are able to do whatever they want with their lives:
"Eventually the men of the kibbutz gave in and allowed, even expected, women to perform the same roles as men, including guard duty. The desire to liberate women from traditional maternal duties was another ideological underpinning of the Children's Society system. Interestingly, women born on kibbutzim were much less reluctant to perform traditional female roles. It was the generation of women born on kibbutzim who eventually ended the Societies of Children. Also, although there was a "masculinization of women", there was no corresponding feminization of men. Women may have worked the fields, but men did not work childcare."
If you thought that conservative Christians who force their kids to go to church every Sunday are not that good child rearers, the socialist way is much, much worse. The socialist way is about brainwashing and destroying individuality (not that worshipping a god is any better in that respect):
Some children who went through Children's Societies said they loved the experience, others are ambivalent, but a vocal group says that growing up without one's parents was very difficult. Years later, a kibbutz member described her childhood in a Children's Society:
"Allowed to suckle every four hours, left to cry and develop our lungs, we grew up without the basic security needed for survival. Sitting on the potty at regular intervals next to other children doing the same, we were educated to be the same; but we were, for all that, different…. At night the grownups leave and turn off all the lights. You know you will wet the bed because it is too frightening to go to the lavatory" (-Gavron, Daniel. The Kibbutz: Awakening from Utopia, Rowman & Littlefield, Lanham, 2000, p. 168.)
And then there's of course the "socialism is against human nature" argument:
For most kibbutzim, the arrival of children was a sobering experience. "When we saw our first children in the playpen, hitting one another, or grabbing toys just for themselves, we were overcome with anxiety. What did it mean that even an education in communal life couldn't uproot these egotistical tendencies? The utopia of our initial social conception was slowly, slowly destroyed."
Btw, many European and Americans also formed these communities. See Tillsammans for an example of one.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Is Africa Coming to Europe?

I was just reading an article in the Economist about Nigeria's presidential elections that ended in violence and fraud. Then, the right-wing candidate Nicolas Sarkozy won the French presidential elections and immigrants resorted to violence:

"On election night, scattered violence was reported around France. There had been fears that the impoverished suburban housing projects, home to Arab and African immigrants and their French-born children, would erupt again at the victory of a man who labeled those responsible for rioting in 2005 as "scum." Police reported that 270 people were taken in for questioning and that 367 parked vehicles had been torched. On a typical night in France, about 100 cars are burned."

"Late Sunday, small bands of youths hurled stones and other objects at police at the Place de la Bastille in Paris. Some bared their backsides at riot officers behind their shields, and police fired volleys of tear gas. Two police unions said firebombs targeted schools and recreation centers in several towns in the Essonne region just south of Paris."

The poor economic situation of France, which would have gotten much poorer had Royal been elected, has endangered the state of European democracy. The question is whether Sarkozy can liberalize the country's economic structure without fear of further acts of violence against people and their property.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mikko Ellilä Under Fire for Being Critical of Islam

A libertarian Finnish blogger, Mikko Ellilä, is under police investigation for incitement against a national or religious group. The police was alerted by Mikko Puumalainen, the Ombudsman for Minorities. The blog mostly deals with Eurabia issues and is very critical of the Muslim immigration wave into Europe which is seen as a threat to classical liberal values.
So, this is what's happening in Finland, the number one country in press freedom. I guess it's easy to avoid conflicts with the state in a homogeneous country that has silenty agreed to be as politically correct as possible (none of our major newspapers published the Mohammed cartoons last year). It doesn't look good: European journalists have been forced to go underground and live under police protection or move abroad for publishing cartoons and opinions critical of Islam. Now individual bloggers are being investigated by the police. At the same time the islamization of Europe continues as imams keep chanting against western values, immigrants continue to riot and Muslims use the threat of violence to affect the outcome of elections.

-Mikko Ellilä
-Gates of Vienna
-Tundra Tabloids
-Finland For Thought
-Mighty Righty

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Two Kinds of Immigrants

Immigrants march in America. Judging by the amount of American flags, the United States must have done something right. The immigrants want to be Americans - they want the freedoms and opportunities America has to offer. At the same time they don't completely abandon their old culture - only the unfit side of their culture gets destroyed by the pot. This is the melting pot model. If this was Europe, an immigrant march would most likely include Iraqi, Palestinian, Somali etc. flags instead of European flags.

(The last one is from a last year march)

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